Remember the days when businesses relied on brochures? The brochure represented their brand and served as an essential sales tool. But when it had huge chunks of text and coffee stains all over it, the brochure went from sales tool to sales repellent.
Consider a website the modern-day version of that brochure. A site with clever design and simple navigation allows a customer to find what they need and buy it. But when a visitor lands on a cluttered site with amateur design, the same thing happens that happened with that beat-up brochure—brand damaged, sale lost.
Businesses must recognize the importance of web design in order to succeed online. The following tactics play into that formula for success.
Emphasize the Most Important Information First
Most website visitors don’t read websites word for word. It’s been proven that a typical user scans a web page by looking at the top of the page, down the left-hand side, and then across the middle (called an F-shaped pattern). This means web design just might be more important than the content you write.
In March, usability.gov (run by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) published the article, “Eye Tracking and Web Site Design,” which stated the most important information on a site should always be mentioned at the top of the page. Keep this in mind when choosing a design format for your site.
A Bell and a Whistle (Singular)
A business should have a site design that shows ingenuity. Simplicity has its place, but in online marketing you want to differentiate yourself from the pack by adding a creative bell or whistle. Design elements such as video, flash images and social media feeds will enhance the user experience as long as the technology does not slow the load time of your site. A site that loads slowly will not keep the attention of its visitors. They will leave!
Navigate Logically or Lose the Visitor
The World Wide Web Consortium publishes standards on web design and usability that cover everything from font size to HTML code specifics to site navigation. In the latest version of its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, it’s stated that each web page should be titled to describe the topic of the page, and that the purpose of each link be evident by the link text and/or surrounding text.
These are two very specific examples of how navigation plays into good web design, but the message is clear. Every website should have a simple navigation that starts with link anchor text and ends with an attractive navigation bar at the top of each page. Without all this factored into your web design, your customers may forget where they were going or why they came.
Invest in Proper Web Design
There are many free or inexpensive templates you can implement that make it simple for the lay person to create a website. However, if you don’t have the creative skills or the Web 2.0 know-how, it is recommended you invest in a professional web design firm. Just as it was mentioned above, a poorly designed site means you’ll lose the sale and the trust you need to grow your business.
Are you willing to take that risk? iBi
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